Bodies in his paintings have a pre-lapsarian, pre-gendered sensuosity
But even here regionality is pronounced in a distinctly Southern kind of direct, Arcadian simplicity--albeit, ironically, with much of the sensuosity
and musicality that seems to have so influenced Whitman on his Southern sojourn, but also in this case coupled with a local tradition of frontier storytelling, a kind of narrative poetic realism.
It takes a deft hand not only to make us believe in the varied flesh-and-blood cast of characters and their beknotted lines of action (unknotted at the very end) but also to make us smell Africa, feel the voluptuous contact between human skins of different colors, rejoice in a sensuosity
at once voluptuous and coolly observed, its heat utterly controlled, like a glowing horseshoe under the blows of an expert blacksmith.